The Pennsylvania townships that sued the state over the newly enacted Act 13 shale drilling law are feeling a little picked on at the moment. The lawsuit brought by seven townships earlier this year is about to go before the PA Supreme Court in a few weeks (see this MDN story). The case revolves around the right of local municipalities to pass and enforce their own zoning laws with respect to oil and gas drilling within their borders. The new Act 13 law provides a consistent set of zoning rules for all townships, replacing and superseding local laws. Some towns in western PA didn’t like it and sued.
Under Act 13, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) is empowered to review and decide whether or not towns are living up to the provisions of Act 13. If they are in violation, the towns won’t receive money from the new impact fee collected under Act 13 (part of a $200 million pot for this year). The current bone of contention is that the PUC is moving forward with reviews of zoning law in select towns, including four of the seven towns that brought the lawsuit. And those towns don’t like it—not one little bit.